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Kerry's Forum Posts: 2

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By Kerry in UT on 6/23/2001


We have our plans done, they have been to the engineer, and we are in the process of getting bids back from the subs. Our home designer said to figure $68sf; he built his own home and seemed to know. All the bids are in and we are at $91sf. Are we doing something wrong or did our home designer give us wrong information? We are building a 2000sf rambler in Salt Lake City. There is nothing special or difficult about the home construction. I would like to know what you feel the current sf cost should be based on an owner-builder situation. In addition, does the price per sf include the building permit and banking fees. I know that it can be done cheaper than $91sf, because a contractor built a house across the street from our lot and he is selling if for $78sf. Do you have any ideas why ours might be so high? Thanks.


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By Mark in Provo, UT on 6/25/2001


Let the general contractor who is building across from you, and two or three others bid your project. Ask for line item bids showing materials, labor, suppliers, and the subs they intend to use. Use the general contractor bids as the basis for your own careful spreadsheet budgeting and count everything. If the general does not include building permits, loan fees, landscaping or window coverings add in for them.

Follow the "Ten Commandments of Owner-Building" and the "Savings Secrets of Owner-Building" in The Owner-Builder Book. Note that you are building at the highest point of the highest season for construction in your area. You have time to get your ducks in a row before the fall season when costs will be lower.

Do you have multiple bids? Have you bid materials separate from labor? When you have done these things, look at the individual bids and negotiate with the suppliers to find soft spots and get the best prices available at the time needed.

Apples to apples, owner-builders save an average of 35% of contractor cost, for good reasons. O-B's can buy as well as generals because they shop and negotiate more thoroughly and O-B's do not have to provide for the inevitable overhead and margin needed to keep a middleman like the general contractor in business. 


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By Kathy & Dave in Salt Lake City, UT on 8/27/2002


Mark Smith, We would love to see a copy of the Lewis home budget. We are also building a larger 2-story brick home in Salt Lake City (2600sf first floor, 1800sf second floor) and our bids are coming in high also. We were hoping for $100sf first and $70sf second. Would it be possible to get a copy of their budget? Thanks, Kathy
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